Getting back into the groove of school can feel overwhelming, especially when your school year starts with professors dumping syllabus packets on you with seemingly endless pages of projects, homework and exams. It’s easy to fall behind and miss due dates when it feels like you have a million things to keep track of. 

But never fear — there are a few easy ways to make sure you have your house in order this semester so you don’t end up turning in assignments late or losing track of when your next club meeting is. Here are some tips for getting yourself together so you can get back into the swing of things without skipping a beat.

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Make desktop folders

For a long time, I was the kind of person who preferred an empty desktop. I’d maybe have one folder, and that folder was probably named “Stuff.” However, when I got to college and started cramming all of my readings and assignments for class into one overstuffed folder, I realized how easy it was to completely lose something in a sea of files. 

The best and easiest way to neatly organize all of your digital materials is to make individual folders on your desktop for each class and drop each and every assignment or document from that class into its respective folder. 

This way, when you’re scrambling to find that one tiny screenshot of an article you need for class, you know exactly where to look and you won’t be combing through as many documents. 

 

Google Calendar

I don’t know what kind of calendar app you’re using now, but stop using it immediately and switch to Google Calendar. 

From color-coding events to setting reminders for events beforehand, Google Calendar can do it all. Every time I learn of a new due date or club meeting, I pop open my calendar on either my phone or my computer and punch it in. It only takes a few seconds to add something to your calendar and it makes your life so much easier in the future. 

Google Calendar can also send notifications before any event to make sure you’re there on time. Sure, you can jumble everything in your phone’s notes app or stick Post-It notes on every surface of your dorm. But having all of your upcoming meetings, events and due dates in one convenient location will make your life so much easier.

 

Use a planner

Yes, I think having a planner in addition to Google Calendar is essential. Go to the Fenway Marshall’s or the HomeGoods in Downtown Crossing and get a cheap planner — you can get a simple one for as little as $10 — so you have something to take out in class where phones are prohibited. 

As brilliant as the human mind is, when you’re laying in bed after a long day of classes, sports, clubs or whatever else you do, you’re not going to remember that reading your professor casually mentioned during that day’s lecture. Jotting down assignments in class and then checking your planner at the end of the day is just one more way you can ensure that you never show up to class unprepared.

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These things may seem obvious, but after three months of leisurely summer living, it can be difficult to get back in the swing of things. So, instead of spending the first few weeks of the semester constantly stressed out, simply pull up your Google Calendar, crack open your planner and take a breath. You got this.

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